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Character creation is awful...but I like it. Starting with nothing and having to build a living breathing creation that looks like nothing else but fulfils your expectations can be an incredible mentally stimulating experience thats hard work but flexes your creative skills to it's fullest.

It's this reason I love creating characters so much; the ultimate freedom offered ticks every box for a creative but there are several types of character creation we get involved with and I'll take you through each section starting with some familiar faces.


Taking recognisable popular culture, be it a celebrity, cartoon or film character is a great starting point if you've never done anything like this before. A lot of the work has already been done for you and you'll have plenty of reference material online to refer to. All you need to concentrate on is approaching it from a different direction; maybe use exaggeration, scale or even combining it with other things to create something unique but recognisable.

The idea is that you still identify the character without difficulty but you own the new space it creates - 'Yosta' (taken from our massively popular Dr Whohoo edition that allowed you to give us a character to invent) shown on the right is a typical example, it mixes caricature, scale and brands but you instantly know who it is. In the same picture you can see Chewbacca mixed with the Adams Family Cousin Itt, again, it's recognisable even though it's nothing like the 8ft tall wookie.

These are probably the more straight forward to create, as you will see, they get harder as we get more random.

'Yosta' Dr Whohoo Modified Edition

In the end we created over 180 new characters for our Dr Whohoo creations. It nearly killed us!

'Rupert The Pear' One of 21 specially created characters for Eccentricus Britannicus
'Scooby Who?' Dr Whohoo Modified Edition
'Eric Clapped Out' Commission Watercolour

How do you artistically approach a classic such as a film or book? You don't approach, you re-invent a classic. Disney has been doing it for years and it seems to work for them but how does it translate to having a stab at it yourself?

Well, it's not easy. Firstly you're not tackling a character anymore, your tackling a world that already exists in so many peoples head that it's hard to dislodge any imagery that the public or even yourself hold. The Wizard Of Oz for example, most will remember the 1939 film vividly as it's full of such rich imagery that you cannot really compete against it so what do you do?
Lost Alice Scarecrow Working Sketch Original final design

Well, you mix up familiar shared memories with others and that's how we started to create our two collections 'Lost Alice' and 'All This Over A Pair Of Shoes' our homage to Alice In Wonderland and the Wizard Of Oz. We shortlisted everything that fed into the public perception of these two classics - books, movies, merchandise and then looked at who was involved in the production and style - Disney, Tim Burton etc

We ended up with a long list of references, then looked along parallel lines of reference. The Scarecrow in Oz for example; you can have the traditional look of a turnip head with old clothes, the original Oz book description, Worzel Gummage, both in book and TV form or a stereotypical tramp look as depicted in fairy tale books. From this we distilled a combination image taking elements from all that we felt would be familiar to viewers before finally giving him a new alter-ego running him through a Tim Burton style update to bring him up to todays standards.

Each and every character had this method applied to it before turning the same attention to the landscape they would inhabit. It's a huge job, Lost Alice alone took 18 months from conception to completion.

We could write a book on the process but really the simple answer is, if you want to do this. Don't! (Only joking! We loved it!)


In the 70's I was an avid comic reader, devouring as many as I could on my 10p pocket money and eagerly awaited the following weeks crazy tome of childhood delights because comics in the 70's were mental. One UK artist however stood head and shoulders above all the others because they were so incredibly different in a very British way. That artist was Ken Reid.

America was a hotbed for creative characters in the 70's and US publications like MAD magazine, Plop! and numerous others that appeared in my local newsagents cornered the weird stakes and my fertile imagination at the same time. Ken effectively took on these imports and the Americans at their own game with his insane creations that appeared in popular comics such as Whoopie and Shiver & Shake. Where the Americans had Basil Wolverton, a rock star name with artwork to match, we had Ken, not too hot on the name but boy did he deliver.

One of the most popular series that Ken penned, and one that is the most fondly remembered; it was 'Creepy Creations' which took inanimate objects, buildings or locations and just like the Victorians before who loved to do the same thing to objects he twisted them with a semi-horrific imagination that kids loved. They appeared as posters on the back of the comics and became instantly collectable.

It's this memory and my admiration of Ken's skill that helped steer my career path, so in 2019 I had a go at creating my own 'Creepy' things in a more modern setting as a homage to Ken's massive influence on my creative bent. Boy are they hard to pull off; my admiration for Ken increased dramatically with each creation. They all had to be dealt with in a different manner, you can't do the same thing you do to an apple what you do to a building for example. The whole exercise took me around four weeks.

I produced 21 images in total, two of which are displayed here for you to see. They existed as part of the Pyramid Of The Peculiar collection and now reside in private collections worldwide.


Oddball creations bouncing off their own cult followings, another creative curveball in which you try to provide a new angle of imagery without annoying people on the way. You can probably see the two references for these quite easily, the Beatles Yellow Submarine and Classic Universal Monsters. It doesn't mean to say they are without complications though. Cult followers are a little like trainspotters in the nicest possible way, they notice each and every detail and if you have them wrong, just like pointing out an incorrect rivet placement on the 10:42 to Crewe they will indeed tell you.

So as well as all the creative stuff to make a pretty picture you have to do a hell of a lot of research to get paintings like this right. The picture of Dr Frankenspine is a mix between a movie and the board game of Operation but you may not identify all the items in the 'Operation'. That's because we had to pin down all the items used in the board game globally before we painted the piece to make sure they are all included for our worldwide collectors whilst the Beatles contains 50 song titles.

Phew! It's all in the details!